20100423

Agave plant may be a medical wonder

William M. Dowd photo

Tequila, the new wonder drug. Who knew?

Mexican researchers this week let the world know their findings -- that agave plant, the key ingredient in tequila, could help treat diabetes and osteoporosis.

Experiments conducted on rats at the CINVESTAV research center suggested that a diet rich in fructans from the agave plant could help improve the formation of bone tissue as well as stimulate the production of the GLP-1 hormone which promotes insulin release, according to Dr. Mercedes Lopez, who lead the research team.

To be perfectly straightforward, however, Lopez said that while the agave plant provides health benefits, drinking tequila would not give the same results because fructans lose their effect during the fermentation process.

Scientists at the research center -- part of the National Polytechnic Institute (Instituto Polit├ęcnico Nacional, or IPN) in the state of Guanajuato -- were to carry out a second stage of research on rodents before testing their results on humans.

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